… an increasing number of criminals are taking advantage of the anonymity offered by the wireless signals to commit a raft of serious crimes – from identity theft to the sexual solicitation of children.
Never mind that this is an irresponsible, fear-mongering article that misses the point. The problem with home wifi networks is not that they allow criminals to use them. There will always be criminals online, and they will always use the anonymity of the internet to escape detection. This is an unfortunate side effect, but we’re just going to have to figure out how to catch them some other way.
The problem with home wifi networks is that no one has created an interface that makes sense. Microsoft and Apple haven’t done it. Dell hasn’t done it. Linksys and DLink haven’t done it. I’m beginning to think that no one will. I should be able to plug in a wireless router and set it up in five minutes. After that setup, I should have a network that is as secure (or insecure) as I want. I shouldn’t have to know what a MAC address is, or what ports I want open. I shouldn’t have to know what type of encryption I want to use. I’m a software engineer, and I spend all day on a computer, but setting up my wireless router is not a trivial task. This is ridiculous.
And the problem is on the computer end, too. I want to see a list of all the wireless networks in range. I want to tell my computer not to ever connect to one with a low signal strength. I should be able to customize all that. And I should get error messages when I can’t connect. It is absolutely infuriating to press the connect button, not be connected, and not have any feedback as to why.
I’ve had an open network for almost a year. Do you know why? Because every time I put a password on, either my PC can’t connect, or my wife’s iBook can’t connect. If I mess with it for a week, I can usually get them both on.
Anyway, it’s ridiculous how hard it is to use and maintain a wireless network.